Thor #157: "Behind Him... Ragnarok!"

Thor #157
"Behind Him... Ragnarok!"
October, 1968

Now Let's See Whether Even
              Aided By
Can Get Us Out Of This One!

If the monstrous Mangog should reach Asgard, and draws the Odinsword, all
living within the universe will be destroyed!  Only the Mighty Thor
remains to face him... and face him the Son of Odin shall.

Mangog knows that the Uru hammer can stop any living being, but Mangog is
far more than any mere living being.  Mangog has the power of an entire
race.  Mjolnir is hurled back towards its master... with a strength as
that which resides in Thor's right arm.  If his hammer has failed... then
what will prevail?  Still does it fly... almost claiming the lives of the
Warriors Three.  Mjolnir returns to its master... and when he turns to
face Mangog once more... Thor finds that the monster has gone.  All will
be lost if he should reach Asgard before them.

Brave Balder finds that the lovely Karnilla seeks his death, for hers is
a selfish love, and if he will not be hers... then Balder will be for
none other.  There is still a chance for him to be spared, but the brave
one will not live if Asgard should die.  Although the Queen of the Norns
is beautiful, it is a beauty of evil which would have him desert Odin.
Having been spurned for the final time, Karnilla decides that Balder must

The warriors opposing the brave one are moved, as well as freed from her
spell.  Now they stand together as Asgardians all.  Although they may be
destroyed by Karnilla's sorcery, the warriors will not lift their hand
against their brother.  Since the Asgardians will not do her bidding, she
banishes them from her sight.  The Queen of the Norns has loved but one.
So noble is he of heart and spirit that not all of her sorcery could gain
him.  Balder is now free to fight for the glory of Asgard, while Karnilla
is alone with her tears.

Balder and his fellow warriors are returned to the golden realm, but
Mangog is fast approaching.  Now armed, they are determined to fight on.
Asgard lies directly ahead of Mangog, who seeks to avenge the deaths of
billion upon billions.  As easily as he shatters yon mountain... so shall
he shatter the realm eternal.  Even now, he can sense their fear... and
knows that their time has come.

No matter what defenses have been hastily erected above, Mangog will
arrive from below.  With the strength of a billion billion beings at his
behest... solid rock is no more an obstacle than the air itself.  With
the monster ahead of them, and almost at the gates, only Thor can
possibly reach him in time.  The God of Thunder must soar alone, but the
Warriors Three will race close behind him.  The tunneling echoes have
almost died, and Thor must fly now.

Having tunneled beneath the golden walls, Mangog surfaces within the
inner city, and lifts the column of eternal flame as if it were a match.
Since Ragnarok means their end, the monster would bring them the taste of
things to come... with his strength, he will soon draw the Odinsword...
and undo the universe entire.  BUHROOM!  It looks as if the end has come,
and with the fall of the realm, Ragnarok will be upon them.

Hope appears in the form of the battalion of reinforcements lead by

Against this vast cavalry... one opponent... who possesses the power of a
billion billion beings!!  A power which can barely be understood... but
nonetheless is felt!!

At this very moment... the Son of Odin soars through the sky... in his
pursuit of the universe's salvation.  His Uru hammer has brought him to
the back of his enemy, and the time is now.  Even so, his right arm has
been seized by a talon, and the monster boasts that not even a thousand
Thors can stop Mangog now.

Before Ragnarok falls... so shall the Thunder God.  Balder charges the
monster, while Guntharr leaps upon Mangog's back.  The warrior prays that
Odin guide his aim.  In the time that the monster searches for his unseen
foe, Balder is able to reach Thor.

With his right arm injured, Thor holds his hammer in his left hand, and
has Balder lead him to his horse.  The Thunder God rides for the
Odinsword, just as the cosmic bolt is unleashed.  The mightiest of all
Asgard's arsenal is fired at Mangog.  SHOOM!  Although struck, the
creature still stands.  Thor knows that more than the realm is in danger.
The universe entire may die... unless the Odinsword remains sheathed.

The warriors keep firing, as the Son of Odin heads for the royal chamber,
and the final stand.  The servitor sees that Mangog has beaten the
legions, and is getting closer.  The God of Mischief bids that his
servitor be silent.  All others may die, save he.  He plans to awaken the
All-Father, but it is the sleep of life, and only Odin may end his
slumber.  Loki turns to flee, uncaring about what will happen to his
subjects, and fearful for his very life.

He runs into his half-brother, who tells him to leave, but there will be
a reckoning should Asgard fall.  With Ragnarok, all gods will fall, and
Thor will die.  Lady Sif and the faithful Recorder have found the God of
Thunder.  He had come from Rigel to record what happens next, and learns
that if the giant sword should be unsheathed, this will be the final hour
of all who live.

The Recorder senses that Mangog has breached the outer defenses, with
Lady Sif and Thor prepared to make their stand.  They see that the wall
have begun to fall, with Sif grateful to be at Thor's side, and her heart
ever belonging to him.  Mangog sees the Odinsword, with Thor bidding the
lady to stay behind him, but Sif would be at his side.  They are as one
sword... one mind... one purpose... one destiny... for now... and

Even such as they are no match for one with the power of a billion,
billion beings.  The time has come for Mangog's revenge... with a single
blow, he will crush all opposition.  RRROK!  The three are knocked off
their feet by the tremendous impact.  Sif knows that he must not reach
the sword, but who will stop him?  Only the Son of Odin stands between it
and the bestial would-be destroyer.

His injured right arm causes his Uru hammer to strike with less force
than it should, but as they are as a gnat's sting to Mangog, still does a
gnat strive on.  Now the monster's tail keeps the Thunder God at bay, as
Mangog prepares to draw the Odinsword, and let Ragnarok fall!!  The
Recorder sees the beginning of the final end.  Shock waves of cosmic
force have begun to be felt... but the Thunder God has not surrendered.
Although his cause seems lost... still he fights on.  His cries of
defiances are heard throughout the royal chamber.  The Rigellian Recorder
sees that Thor's battle is not in vain.  Beneath his pain there is a
method.  Behind the madness... a plan.  He is using his own power as the
God of Thunder to call forth a mounting fury.

The Recorder sees the reason why.  Only the All-Father, along with his
son may yet thwart Ragnarok.  The storm created by Thor allows Odin to
awaken safely from the Odinsleep.  Having awoken from his slumber, the
All-Father has arrived, with power scepter in hand.  The powerful ray
strikes Mangog, freezing him in place.  The words of Odin are now spoken.
Some time ago, the monster's race had been placed under an Odinspell.
By imperial decree, that spell is now broken.  As Mangog grows weaker...
weaker... an energy mass rises from him.

The Mighty Mangog was a mere illusion, a living prison where his race
resided.  The sentence has been ended, and as the monster fades away...
that race shall live once more.  The All-Father comforts his son on the
victory, for he had fought with an Odin's Spell in human form, and fought
it... like a god.  They watch as the end comes into view... an entire
race has done its time... and a billion, billion beings are now free to
live in peace once more.  Such is the judgement and the will of Odin.  He
has spoken!!

Ragnarok will not come on this day.  With the sheathing of the sword...
the danger is gone, and the golden realm continues on.  Lady Sif is among
the living, she who has carries the heart of Thor... she lives.  The lady
is pleased to be in the arms of the Thunder God, and both are free to
face what may come.  Balder the Brave has sheathed his own sword and all
Asgardians stand triumphant.  The end, as the warriors of Asgard salute
their ruler... All-Father Odin... and the golden realm.

On the cover of Thor #157, Ragnarok may be behind him, but Mangog is in
front of him, and Thor's caught in one of his talons.

Mangog looks like a cross between a mad bull and a lobster, with teeth
which only an orthodontist would love.

At the time of this story, the Queen of the Norns has a hairstyle and
wardrobe which has her resembling Katherine Hepburn.

All this talk of having the power of a billion, billion beings makes me
think of Carl Sagan.

Spending his time keeping the throne warm, Loki soon finds himself in the
hot seat, with the arrival of Mangog.

The Rigellian Recorder is one of my favorite characters, and he knows how
to give a dramatic play-by-play of the proceedings.

With the release of a billion, billion beings, the price of rent and
housing are certain to go up.

In "The Hammer Strikes" letters page, Bill Henley Jr. of Springfield,
Ohio writes:

"Dear Stan and Jack,

My recent perusal of your latest Thor effort, #153 (one of the best in
recent months, incidentally), hath in sooth inspired me to write in and
probably thoroughly bore you with my ideas of the origin and nature of
everyone's favorite Norse deity and his fellow Asgardians.  Firstly, my
idea about Asgard itself is that rather than being an "imaginary" world
dependent for existence on the belief of mortals as Bill Cantey
postulates in #153, the weird-looking flat planet (or whatever it is that
you portray Asgard as existing on) is part of a separate time-space
continuum in which the forces of magic are an important factor of
existence.  The Asgardians have used these powers to become immortal and
superior to the humans here on Midgard, as well as most of the other
beings on the Asgard-world.  Bifrost, the rainbow bridge, is actually a
magic space-time warp between the two universes of Earth and Asgard.  My
theory about how and why Dr. Blake became Thor when he found that walking
stick in Norway is thus: at some time in the past Thor was nearly killed
by some foe (possibly Loki).  However, Odin managed to save him by
transferring his life-essence into Mjolnir the hammer.  This Odin changed
into the wooden stick, took the stick to Midgard, and arranged things so
Thor would eventually be reincarnated through some worthy mortal.  The
rest we know.  One thing about the Thor series which interests me is the
way the personality of Thor and the nature of his adventures has
gradually changed from being a pretty ordinary superhero fighting
ordinary villains on Earth to an old-time fantasy hero fighting unusual
villains in Asgard and other far-out places.  I have figured out a reason
for this phenomenon, as follows: when Dr. Blake first became Thor through
the walking stick, the physical body of Thor was recreated but the
original personality of Thor still lay dormant; Dr. Blake still dominated
to a large part.  For a while as a result, Blake thought of Thor largely
as simply a more powerful form which he used to satisfy his altruistic
impulses.  However, as Blake spent more time in Thor's guise, the
original personality began to reappear and reassert itself.  This
resulted in a temporary conflict between the Blake and Thor
personalities, which numbered among its results the more tumultuous
aspects of the Thor-Blake-Jane Foster romance.  Soon, though, the Thor
personality became dominant, until even now when our hero is in the Blake
guise he tends to retain the personality and motives of Thor.  Recently
you've been showing an unfortunate tendency to get the technical details
of your stories mixed up.  Two examples: In the Destroyer story in issues
#150-52, Sif got all frazzled because she was unable to tell Thor that
her life-force was in the Destroyer's body instead of that of some
villain, owing to the fact that the Destroyer could not speak.  This
would be okay, except in both of his previous appearances, (ishes
#118-119 and Annual #2) the Destroyer was perfectly capable of speaking
with the voice of whosoever's Life-force inhabited it.  Also in #153, you
had Thor almost change back to Dr. Blake after 60 seconds without his
hammer in the Asgard world!  This is wrong - it has been demonstrated
before that Thor must be continuously in contact with Mjolnir to remain
Thor only in Midgard.  In Asgard, there is no difference one way or the
other.  Finally, about the argument on whether or not to bring back Tales
of Asgard, I vote no.  The strip was good while it lasted, but when
toward the last you were reduced to swiping plots from the Arabian
Knights and Odin knows what not else, it got just a little ridiculous.
The five pages can be better used in the regular Thor series now, I

This Review Is Dedicated To Bill Henley, Who Continues To Provide His Own
Interesting Reviews On SAR.

Steve Chung
"Behind Him... Review!"